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1Dec/110

Dragon Soul Review & Legendary Changes

So, patch day has come and gone, and so has the new content. While I am glad for something different to do outside of Firelands, Dragon Soul was a bit of a let down. Sure, there were new and interesting mechanics, but there was no real difficulty. My guild went 7/8 the first night and only stopped there because some raid members couldn't stay any later. The second night we finished off Madness and now all sport the "Destroyer's End" title. We thought that the raids would be tuned harder for the release, since they seemed so easy on the PTR, but instead of making them harder, I think they made them even easier. I know that Blizzard is trying to be all inclusive, but isn't that what the LFR is for? Making things easier so everyone can do it that way, instead of taking away the challenge from those that like it? I'm hoping that the heroic modes offer a lot more challenge.

Note, all these reviews will be presented from a Combat Rogue in a 10m raid perspective:

Dragon Soul Bosses (Regular Mode)

1) Morchok: This dude is pretty simplistic. There are only three things to look out for, and they are all pretty easy. First off is his Stomp - just Feint the damage like you would on Ryolith. Second are his crystals, similar to Baleroc. My raid didn't have me doing anything with them, but if your raid has you tanking them instead of ranged (or due to lack of ranged) just get close enough to them to get a debuff and suck up the damage. Last is is main ability, which pulls the whole raid into him as he drops shards around the outskirts of the engagement area. As soon as you are free, you will need to sprint out and get behind the rocks which block the black mist on the ground that does damage to you. Don't stand too close, as it seems that the damage area is slightly greater than the graphic area, and yo can be taking damage even if it looks like you are free and clear. Outside of those mechanics, he's a straightforward tank and spank fight.

2) Yor'sahj: Another fairly straightforward deal, but this one requires much more mobility. Our raid used marker on the spawn points just for ease of visibility and calling out where to go, but it isn't necessary. In this fight, you DPS the boss until three randomly colored slimes spawn from their colored points.When this happens, you quickly DPS one of the slimes down, leaving only two to give Yor'sahj new abilities. Color strategies will vary, so listen to your raid leader. If the black one hits, you get a bunch of adds, just Blade Flurry them down (or FoK if you are assassination). If blue hits, you get an orb to cleave down as well. Like I said, this guy is a pretty straightforward deal.

3) Zon'ozz: Another simple fight. DPS the boss, and intercept the orb when it is called for. We usually went 4-5 bounces if I recall correctly. You need to stay in your group to absorb the damage and move quickly to the other side when your raid leader calls for it to hit the boss. Don't stand in front of the boss because of his Psychic Drain, and boom, dead.

4) Hagara: The first interesting fight, she has 3 phases: Her normal phase, her ice phase, and her electric phase. Her first "special" phase will be random, but will always alternate normal/special etc. In her first "normal" phase, it is pretty much just DPS her down. Crystals will spawn that shoot beams toward you and those need to be kept off the tank. Typically ranged will tank those, but that depends on the raid. You also need to watch for an arrow to appear above your head. If you get targeted, move to the designated Ice Tomb location and wait to get broken out. If you aren't tombed, Blade Flurry them down.

When her ice phase begins, quickly get to the outer ring and avoid the ice coming from the inner ring. When that hits the outer ring it will rotate clockwise (that's anti-Nascar for for some of you folk) and keep circling until all the crystals have been destroyed. In my raid I was able to get one or two swings on it if lucky because our ranged was on the ball, but just keep moving and DPS those crystals as you pass by them. Once all are destroyed, Hagara will take extra damage so sprint over and blow your cooldowns.

In her electric phase an add will spawn and you need to kill it by a conduit. Once the add is dead, it till activate that conduit, and then you need to chain the electricity to the next conduit through the other players. We had two teams that split in opposite directions chaining the electricity to each other and blew through that phase quickly. Again, Hagara takes more damage now so sprint over and blow more cooldowns. Rinse, repeat, dead. Also note that you can clear the trash and quickly back out so you don't immediately engage her when she lands.

5) Ultraxion: This is a boss fight? Really? For the most part this is just a chance to sit on a single target and go nuts, but there are two things to watch out for. First off, you may notice a green button in the middle of your screen. That's a special ability you will need to use later in the fight. I use Bartender and on the PTR it wasn't working, but it has been fixed now to show that button. Some other UI mods may not show it too. Either way, I use a macro to activate Heroic Will, because I prefer to press a thumb button on my mouse rather than click an icon in the middle of my screen. So UI glitches or not, I use:

/click ExtraActionButton1

You can test it prior to the start of the encounter just to make sure, but it works much better than clicking IMHO. The only times you will need to use it is when Ultraxion starts to channel Hour of Twilight. It's a 5 second cast so you don't have to pop it immediately, but make sure you aren't on a GCD when you need to click it. The second time you will need to use it is when you get Fading Light. Check the timer and use it when you have a couple seconds left. Other than those two things, just go nuts. DPS to your hearts content, and feint often to reduce the AoE damage taken to help your healers.

6) Blackhorn: This fight gave us a bit of trouble on the PTR, but it was nerfed and we one-shotted our way right through it. There are two phases, the adds, then Blackhorn himself. During the first phase, you will need to protect the lootship, err, gunship, from bombs. We broke into 4 quadrants and when the small swirly appeared on the ground, the players in that quadrant absorbed the damage. When the big swirly appeared we all converged on it to absorb the damage. Damage taken can be reduced with feint and cloak. Adds appear, and you will need to take them out ASAP. First and foremost are the sappers. They appear randomly then quickly vanish, but soon reappear and bolt toward the ships bridge. They can be slowed, death-gripped, etc. Our DK would grip them to the back of the ship and chains them, while the ranged would blow him up. It was rare for me to even get a shot off on him, but he is the primary kill target if your ranged isn't as on the ball as in our raid. Meanwhile you will have a Dreadblade and Slayer being tanked. Usually they will be tanked close together so we can cleave them down, but Dreadblade is top priority. They both charge and show a white line on the ground before doing so... keep that in mind and avoid it. Ranged will be taking out the dragons and once they have all been killed, Blackhorn will land. He is pretty straight forward, just avoid the Shockwave and feint the damage from his shout. Lootship 2.0.

7) Spine of Deathwing: A bit confusing at first, but once the mechanics have been learned, this too is pretty straightforward. You will need to stay toward the middle of the spine to avoid the rolls until called for. When you start, you will kill 3 of the tentacles. Whenever you kill a tentacle, an Amalgamation will appear, and a tentacle will respawn if all the tentacles are dead, so leave one up to deal with less Amalgamations. The Amalgamations eat the Bloods that spawn and you need to get them to 9 stacks. Typically the Amalgamation will be tanked toward the front of the encounter space, and the bloods are brought to him where you can cleave them down. Be ready to toggle Blade Flurry off and single target Bloods if you get the Amalgamation too low. When it gets to 9 stacks you finish burning him down where he will do a Nuclear Blast which will lose an armor plate and allow access to Tendon. You need to be 10 yards away from the Nuclear Blast to survive but its got a cast time so it is pretty easy to get out and back in a timely manner. Blow cooldowns on the Tendon, as you don't want to have to repeat a phase. When the tendon dies, the plate will fall off giving you more room to move.

Now the rolling... after that first Tendon, we still had several Amalgamations up, and you really don't want to have to deal with all that, so we all moved to one side and stood by the open wound where a tendril had previously been. That gave us the debuff Grasping Tendrils that held us on Deathwing's back when he rolled. If you do not have that debuff, you will fall off the back and not be able to be ressed. Sucks to be you. The roll will also make the amalgamations fall off as well, so then it is pretty much rinse and repeat of the first phase.

8) Madness of Deathwing: In this encounter there are four platforms to fight on. Based on where you start there will be slight variances, but for the most part the encounter will go the same way. For reference, our guild went 1, 3, 2, 4 for our platform order. When the encounter begins, you start off with DPS on Deathwing's tentacle until a Corruption spawns. When that spawns, you will need to immediately swap targets and burn that down as quickly as possible. While killing that an Elementium Bolt will spawn that needs to be killed or avoided. If you still have the third platform up then you should kill it. Burn it down as quickly as possible before it hits the ground and deals massive raid damage. If the second platform is already beaten, then move from the impact point and cloak IMMEDIATELY as it will be coming in quickly. (Note: I haven't tested just standing there and cloaking, I would think that would work but we were more concerned with getting the mechanics down than testing rogue theories last night) As soon as the Bolt impacts, rush over and burn it down, then resume killing the Corruption. When the Corruption is dead, return to the Tentacle and DPS it. Periodically Blistering Tentacles will spawn from the main tentacle that deal a stacking raid damage. If the first platform is still available, they will be destroyed for you, if not, you need to single target them down as quickly as possible. Use the damage reduction from the third platform if available and feint/cloak/etc. Regenerative Bloods also spawn and will move in. You need to AoE them down quickly to kill them before their energy hits 100 and they regenerate back to full health. I popped Blade Flurry and focused on whichever Blood had the most health. These platforms are a bit of a DPS race but once you've dropped all four of them, then Deathwing's head comes crashing down.

Once the head is down, move to that platform and start DPS immediately. Tentacles will spawn that need to be killed fast, and two big adds will spawn that need to be taken out quickly. The tanks should have the two big adds stacked so we can cleave them down asap, preferably close to Deathwing's head to minimize movement and downtime. Rinse and repeat til Deathwing is dead. The cinematic wasn't available last night when we killed him, but who cares, we got our spiffy titles.

Rogue Legendary Changes

They did make the rogue legendary quest-line a bit tougher. They dumped a bunch of guards along the back pathway that I previously took to get to Hiram Creed. It seems a bit buggy though, there were spots where I would just come out of stealth. Could be intentional but it just seemed odd. I ended up infiltrating while testing a theory. If you are out of range of Zazzo, you lose the "Eye of Zazzo" buff or whatever it is he puts on you when he's watching you to protect you from getting too dead while trying to infiltrate. If you are in his range and fly, it will port you right back to him saying "One cannot simply FLY into Gilneas," or something along those lines. Well, I would run out of his range then fly all the way around to the back side, to get to where I my planned infiltration point. I realized that the detection of flight seemed to be attached to the mount, so, on a whim, I decided to see if I could parachute in to Creed.

I sure as hell could.

I got some altitude, lined up to his building, took off at top speed, then just be fore I hit the no-fly-zone, I dropped off my mount and straight HALO jumped into his base. I hit the wall and dropped to a ledge, where I could creep past most of the adds. I ended up limiting my engagement to distracting a handful of patrols and only a few guards sapped. I think that this is not a bug, but is working as intended. You can't just fly a C-130 in to hostile territory and land to unload troops, but the SEAL team sure can drop in to rain death from above as they infiltrate.

Creed seemed just as straightforward as before, and he's susceptible to all of the rogue tricks. I kept recuperate up and would feint damage whenever I could. I also made a Kidney Shot/Bandage macro to stun him, stop combat, and bandage myself:

/cast Kidney Shot
/stopattack
/use [target=player] Dense Embersilk Bandage

Obviously you need to make sure you aren't standing in something bad to use that effectively, but you should be doing that anyway, right? Gouge to interrupt his casts, use evasion and combat readiness as needed. If you can't get through this guy, you shouldn't be playing a rogue.

So now, with all these juicy bits of information, go forth and stab.

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